Catawba County News

Recognize and Report the Signs of Elder Abuse

Recognize and Report the Signs of Elder Abuse

Published: June 10, 2024

In conjunction with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which takes place June 15, Catawba County Social Services encourages all residents to recognize and report signs of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The National Center on Elder Abuse compiled the Red Flags of Abuse to help people know the signs of elder abuse. The Red Flags of Abuse fall into three categories: emotional and behavioral, physical, and financial.

Emotional and behavioral signs may include unusual changes in behavior or sleep; fear or anxiety; isolated or not responsive; and depression.

Physical signs may include broken bones, bruises and welts; cuts, sores or burns; untreated bed sores; torn, stained or bloody underclothing; unexplained sexually transmitted diseases; dirtiness, poor nutrition or dehydration; poor living conditions; and lack of medical aids, such as glasses, a walker, teeth, hearing aids, or medications.

Financial signs may include unusual changes in bank account or money management; unusual or sudden changes in a will or other financial documents; fraudulent signatures on financial documents; and unpaid bills.

The Adult Protective Services (APS) team at Catawba County Social Services receives and evaluates reports of suspected abuse, neglect and/or exploitation of adults aged 18 and older. Reports may be called in at (828) 695-5609 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If reporting after hours or during holidays, call 911.

“Abuse, neglect and/or exploitation of older and disabled adults is more common than most people realize,” said Heather Ball, Adult Services Program Manager, Catawba County Social Services. “In Catawba County, our goal is to help protect the county’s most vulnerable adults by connecting them with the services and resources they need to stay as safe and healthy as possible. We approach each situation individually, and we strive to ensure everyone we serve is treated with dignity, care and respect.”

For more information about Adult Protective Services in Catawba County, visit and click on Social Services under the County Services tab.